In the second week of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, the Russian military has recorded further gains in its destruction of Western military assets. Notable casualties include Leopard tanks, British Mastiff Protected Patrol Vehicles (PPVs), American Bradley armored vehicles, and Canadian Rochelle vehicles. Additionally, Western towed and self-propelled artillery units have also suffered losses.

The Australian Bushmaster, an Infantry Mobility Vehicle (IMV), has recently become a target as well. An image depicting a destroyed Bushmaster has surfaced on the Telegram social channel, with both pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian accounts confirming its destruction.

A preliminary analysis of the available photographs strongly suggests that a Russian kamikaze drone was responsible for the attack. The damage inflicted does not resemble that caused by anti-tank or anti-personnel mines, as the impact points would have been located beneath the Bushmaster. In such cases, the vehicle’s hull would exhibit signs of splitting or partial cracking along the chassis.

The drone strike appears to have been executed from the side, specifically the right side of the Bushmaster, where visible damage is concentrated. The armored passenger window failed to withstand the attack, allowing shrapnel to penetrate the bodywork. On the opposite side, the armored windows have been completely destroyed. The lower part of the vehicle’s metal structure, where the drone made contact, exhibits slight bending but remains firmly attached to its bolts.

The Bushmaster’s dome, although heavily smoke-damaged, remains intact and resilient. Notably, the machine gun attachment is missing. The vehicle’s tires are also absent, likely removed by Ukrainian soldiers along with the turret machine gun. This action is in line with standard practice when salvaging usable equipment. The external cargo compartments on the vehicle’s body are open, indicating that their contents have been extracted and stored. While the initial impression may suggest a heavily damaged vehicle, the presence of removed components, weapons, and personnel implies an intentional effort to recover valuable resources after the impact.

The fate of the crew and passengers remains uncertain. Russian accounts offering these photos do not provide any additional context. However, upon closer examination of the images, it is apparent that the tires were deliberately removed rather than destroyed or burned. This suggests human intervention in the tire removal process.

Conversely, pro-Ukrainian accounts assert that the crew survived the attack and successfully salvaged any remaining viable assets from the vehicle. The open external cargo compartments depicted in the photos further support this claim, indicating that items were removed before the vehicle was abandoned.

While it is conceivable that Russian soldiers were responsible for these actions, the absence of any mention of Ukrainian soldiers in the accounts sharing the photos from the Australian Bushmaster is noteworthy. No reports of Ukrainian soldiers being killed, injured, or captured have been presented. Thus, it is highly likely that Ukrainian forces evacuated the burning vehicle and regrouped with their unit in the rear.

The observed damage to the Bushmaster IMV does not indicate any immediate fatalities within the vehicle’s transport capacity. While it is possible that there are casualties or injuries, a preliminary examination of the available photos, without additional context, does not reveal any apparent casualties.

Regarding the Bushmaster IMV itself, it is a robust and versatile armored vehicle specifically engineered for enhanced protection against mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and small arms fire. One of its key design elements is the V-shaped hull, which effectively redirects the force of mine or IED explosions away from the vehicle, thus safeguarding its occupants. The Bushmaster incorporates advanced armor technologies such as composite materials and ceramic armor to provide additional layers of protection against hostile attacks.